Cypress Heart & Vascular Center

Heart disease kills more Americans every year than lung disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, chronic liver disease, and chronic kidney disease combined. Lifetime risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) approaches 50% and is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Autopsy data have consistently shown than people begin developing atherosclerotic plaques in their coronary arteries in their 20s and 30s. Despite these staggering numbers, heart disease remains poorly understood by the lay public and often goes undiagnosed until it is too late. 

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The good news is that we already know what causes the development and progression of atherosclerotic disease, and every single patient can take steps to reduce their overall risk. Some risk factors are not modifiable, and some are. I think of heart disease like being dealt a hand of cards. You can’t control what cards are in you are given (age, sex, family history of early heart disease), but you do get to control how you play your hand (diabetes, tobacco use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol). 

We all have that one relative who smoked like chimney, never saw a doctor, and lived well into their 90s. Unfortunately, this is the exception and not the rule. That relative was most likely dealt a pair of pocket aces—it would be hard to play that hand poorly! But what if you were dealt a couple off-suit twos? Suddenly, how you go about playing your hand is absolutely vital. 

Come see me in the office so we can discuss what hand you’ve been dealt and come up with a plan on how to play it.

Michael J. Hermelin, MD